Luke Nelson, majoring in Anthropology, is a DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist

[W]hen I graduated high school in the spring of 2009, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Part of me wanted to major in history and become a teacher, like my mother. Another part wanted to go off and become a musician like my father. However, the future had plans for me in the field of anthropology.

Before I continue, I need to set the record straight. I am a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white male. I do not know discrimination based on my ethnicity. I am instead judged on what conservative religious groups would deem a “life choice.” 

It is terrifying growing up as a homosexual in a red state like Arizona. Usually when someone tries to express their sexual identity, they do it to someone they love outside of their immediate family. When I tried to come out to my best friend my junior year of high school, he beat the living hell out of me and told me to “go wear dresses and make-up like all the other ****ots.”

It was in this act that I decided to focus my education in finding an end to the discrimination of gays. I am currently attending the University of Arizona pursuing a bachelor’s of science in anthropology with an emphasis in human biology to search for answers as to why homosexuality exists from a cultural and biological perspective. I hope to find some sort of hard evidence to support the LGBT creed that homosexuality is NOT a choice, and use that knowledge as a weapon against religious organizations that deem LGBT peoples as “sinful” and “unnatural.” 

Earning my degree is fundamental to my ability to hold my ground against critics. I hope to pursue my master’s degree right out of my undergraduate program, and hopefully not stop until I’ve earned a PhD. I may not be the most overtly diverse individual, but I believe that with my research I can lead an army in the war against hate.

DiversityJobs.com’s scholarship program is proud to announce Luke Nelson as one of the finalists for its December 2012 application deadline. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.



  • Luke Nelson, in the time that I’ve known him, has demonstrated nothing less than a sound character, a steadfast dedication to moral fortitude, and a permeated culture of respect for those surrounding him. This scholarship will not be wasted because it will afford a dedicated individual the forum to increase awareness for his embattled passions and his oft challenged self identity. It is truly a shame that his intellectual capabilities will only benefit the field of anthropology because his abilities are tailor made for instant success no matter where his journey leads. I implore the selection committee to cultivate a career that knows no ceiling.

  • Luke Nelson, in the time that I’ve known him, has demonstrated nothing less than a sound character, a steadfast dedication to moral fortitude, and a permeated culture of respect for those that surround him. This scholarship will not be wasted because it will afford a dedicated individual the opportunity to increase awareness for his embattled passions and oft challenged self identity. It is a shame that intellectual talent will be gifted only to the community of anthropology, as his skill set is tailor made for instant success in any field. I implore the selection committee to cultivate a career that knows no ceiling.

  • Luke is one of the most deserving people I know for this scholarship. He is a true example of how one can turn hardships into strength, and as I’ve watched him grow, I’ve been amazed by his constant determination and positive attitude despite these hardships. Intelligent and compassionate, Luke has the capability to make great advances in anthropological research for the better of humanity. I hope others will see that to select him would be to make a great investment in overcoming discrimination against diversity!

  • Luke is a fine and upstanding coworker whose company makes work a little bit better each time we share a shift. I can think of no more deserving recipient of this scholarship.

    Luke would make a mighty general indeed in such a war against hate. His sharp intellect and (in my opinion bizarrely) sincere love for anthropology (last semester he would come in to work excited and eager to discuss proto chinese civilization, with just about anyone who would listen lol) are a very winning combo.

  • I am so proud to be Luke’s mom! He has always been a special joy in my life. I have loved him from the moment I found out I was pregnant with him. He has the courage to make difficult decisions when necessary. He does the “right” thing even when the “right” thing is hard to do. He is kind, considerate, and compassionate. He is a loyal and caring friend who is there in times of need. He is smart and funny! He is hard working — currently, he’s enrolled in 20 credits at U of A and working at two jobs! He is a terrific young man with a bright and bold future ahead of him. I’m so blessed that he is my son!

  • Luke is an inspiration to us all. He is a solid scientist and talented writer, and has much to offer his field and the world at large. On top of rigorous studies, field expeditions, and lab work, he tutors struggling elementary school students in math and involves himself in extracurricular research at every opportunity. He is an ambitious, hard-working, dedicated individual who will go the extra mile when no one else will, and as evidenced here, he has the fortitude and strength of character to overcome any hardship. The selection committee could only do right by awarding him this scholarship.

  • Luke has such an admirable character and drive to make the world a better and more tolerant place! I wish him all the best as he works for some important steps that our society needs to take towards becoming a better and more equal place for everyone.

  • Luke Nelson, ever since I met him in 8th grade I knew that he had the potential for something big. I am proud to know him and proud to say that as a fellow homosexual I came to realization of his thought and how interesting it would be to know “why homosexuality exists from a cultural and biological perspective”

  • I have known Luke Nelson since my first year in high school. He was a quirky 14-year-old when I first met him and we worked on odd English group projects together. I have had the pleasure to watch him grow into an amazing adult and I am glad that he is one of my friends who I’ve kept in contact with through my college years. His curiosity is endless, his vast knowledge on a variety of topics amazes me, and he is a sweet, caring individual – he is a well-rounded person. I have been lucky to listen in on his anthropology debates and trivia. I wonder what type of anthropologist he will become. I, for one, know that he will be great and I am so happy to see him nominated.

  • I have known Luke for a few years now. The first thing I say about him is ALWAYS and exactly “Luke is GREAT.” Why is he so great? Is it that ridiculously contagious smile? Is it the fact that he can probably make you have an accident from laughing so hard? Or is it that he can silence you with one of his masterpiece essays, laced with you-need-a-dictionary-in-your-hand kind of words? Well, it’s a combination of those things. There are two striking qualities about him: sociability and intelligence. There’s a saying that’s been beaten to death, and I’ll use it here. There is never a dull moment when Luke is around. He always has something to say, whether it’s trivial or trivia. He communicates well with a variety of people, which dictates sociability. But he’s not a lazy college kid who just likes to talk a lot. He’s a well-educated, hard working, university student. He once asked me to critique an essay he wrote, and my first thought was, “Wow. He is WAY out of my vocabulary range.” Not only are his conversations well pieced together, but his written work shines with obvious intellect. If you ever had the fortune to meet Luke, you would never have guessed that life might have taken him on a downhill ride a few times. He doesn’t flaunt his would-be misery. He doesn’t pity himself or beg to be pitied. He respects himself, and in that, deserves every bit of respect or recognition coming his way. If Luke is leading an army in the war against hate, you’d better suit up and join the ranks.

  • Luke Nelson is one of the most affable people I’ve ever met. He’s intelligent, approachable, and incredibly bubbly–his radiant smile says it all! What’s even more impressive is that he’s able maintain this even in the face of adversity. It’s hard to say this about people, but I’ve never had a bad time with Luke.

    Besides how great of a person Luke is, what he stands for also needs to be taken into account. Considering the political/social climate in this country, I could think of few things more beneficial than funding studies that could lead to a better understanding of LBGT people.

  • Luke Nelson has been a friend of mine since we both stepped on the football field our first marching season. It is unfortunate that we have since become more distant, but I suppose that happens when one moves away to a different town. I can attest to Luke Nelson’s unmatched intelligence and unbridled passion for learning. He is not only strong academically, but a strong person. I remember how greatly I was impressed by his courage when he “came out” to me in high school. I must admit that I had been slightly homophobic until that day, simply because I had believed it was a choice. He explained to me that it was in fact not choice and had in fact always known he was gay. If anybody can change the hearts and minds of the narrow minded bigots, this man is Luke Nelson.

  • Luke is truly an inspiring person. Not only is his character infallible, but also his academic dedication and passion is of the highest I have ever seen. He is the sort of person that people -including myself- strive to emulate. Given this scholarship, Luke will utilize and appreciate this opportunity more than any other person. There is no one who deserves it more.

  • Luke is a very intelligent young man with a bright future not only in anthropology, but as a warm and caring individual genuinely interested in the people around him and humanity in general. His experience as a public school math tutor and in the restaurant industry has sharpened his people skills to the point where he is comfortable being around all types of people. I also believe people are comfortable around him. I am proud to be his dad and proud of all of his many accomplishments to date. I believe he has a bright future ahead of him.

  • I am so proud to call Luke Nelson my friend. I am impressed by his passion for his studies, his quick and inquiring mind and his ability to smile regardless of the hardships he endures. As the mother of a gay daughter, I am pleased that Luke has chosen this path in Anthropology. I know that with people like Luke, this world CAN be a better place. There is nobody more deserving of this scholarship than Luke Nelson!

  • Luke is a joy to
    know. He is positive in attitude,
    possesses strength of character and a hilarious sense of humor to boot! Not one to shirk hard work or challenge, Luke
    is ambitiously dedicated to bettering society through sharing his knowledge. He has the integrity and courage to make
    difficult decisions, and a sincere desire to help others with a generous, kind
    and unselfish heart. He has an inner wisdom,
    which is rare in one so young. I hold
    him in high esteem, and hope he will be considered for this special honor.

  • I haven’t met Luke in person, but I can tell from his few words that he is the type of person I would love to see have great success in his career pursuit. I meet lots of motivated students at the University of Arizona as I advise architecture undergrads, but Luke’s goals are quite compelling! I look forward to seeing Dr. Luke Nelson leading that War Against Hate…..

  • I have never met Luke. I just read his essay and all I can say is that he seems like an amazing and beautiful individual. I hope he wins this scholarship and pursues his education. The fight against hate will be an arduous one, but having a determined and educated young man leading the fight will only benefit all of society. Good luck, Luke!

  • Luke has been a very close friend of mine for about 10 years now and I must say that I have never seen such a drive in a man. His huge heart, supreme intellect, honesty, integrity, and persistence make him to be an exceptional stature of character that deserves this scholarship more than anyone. Among having the honor to know someone like him let alone befriend such a wonderful person, I have seen first hand how he is in an academic and social setting as well as the work place. He accepts nothing less than the best in EVERYTHING he does whether it be friendships, his family, and most importantly, his college career. His positive attitude and passion for his dreams sets him on a level unlike anyone I have yet to see. Hoping that this is not a popularity contest, I stand firm in what I say when I say that Luke Nelson will use every cent of this scholarship wisely and he will not disappoint if given such an opportunity.

  • Luke Nelson is destined to become a leader of our society. Some day, DiversityJobs.com will be proud to claim that they sponsored him when he was an undergraduate.

  • Dear Luke,

    I admire your efforts in pursuing this scholarship as it illustrates your drive and motivations to be a successful individual. I have had the honor of meeting you in person as well as gathering facts about your traits and persona over the past three years, and I must mention, you have every capability to acquire the dreams, goals, and desires that you wish. You have a wealth of determination, and not to mention a strong knowledgeable mind that even a person who has not known you for a lengthy amount of time can observe. Normally, you have quite the facilitation to convey yourself with more complex conversation, involving a variety of vocabulary terms of the sorts (not to mention an extraordinary math skill-set), which is quite admirable to me and even more exemplary that you use them appropriately to depict your intelligent idealizations, theories, and thoughts. I also find it commendable that you work a job and progress your scholastic studies simultaneously, which helps illustrate, at least in my perspective, that you have the appropriate discipline to utilize such a scholarship in your efforts to pursue your goals. I personally believe that a person such as yourself deserves this opportunity to help expand your horizons and already knowledgeable mindset. There is a wealth of potential in you, a potential that you could ultimately utilize to help better the success of the world around you while simultaneously gaining more insight yourself through your intelligent and determined endeavors. Best of luck, and be inexorable to all variables that attempt to stand between you and your path to success. =)

    Jonathan Cushing

  • As I am his maternal grandfather, I’ve known Luke Nelson for his entire life. Luke has always been an interesting character, quickly picking up new ideas, thinking through out-of-the-ordinary subjects that caught his attention, focusing on unusual sequences, and, in general, trying to make this world we live in more understandable and interesting to himself and to those around him. His rather laid-back life style is easily misunderstood, when in fact he is a keen student of all that goes on around him, in friends and in family, and in current history and how it relates to mankind’s development through his studies in archaeology and anthropology. He certainly focuses well with young people, in his work as a mentor/tutor in high-school and earlier mathematics. I believe Luke would be a great asset to this program.

Find Jobs


What would it be like to stop feeling blindsided by the job search process? To know what the person reading your resume you is thinking? To wake up feeling thrilled to be working for the company you want to work for? You can do it with our new book 'WORK SMART - How to Land a Job at a Great Company and Get Promoted'. Click here to get WORK SMART now.

Tell Us!

Have an interesting career story to tell about beating the odds? We’d love to hear it!

Find Jobs